Black Entertainment Television (commonly referred to by its acronym B.E.T.) is an American cable network based in Washington, D.C. and targeted towards young black and urban audiences in the United States. Robert L. Johnson founded the network in 1980. Most programming of the network comprises mainstream rap and R&B music videos and urban-oriented movies and series.
Its urban music programming includes 106 & Park, a show taped before a live audience counting down the top videos requested by viewers and inviting rap and R&B artists to promote their music. The Deal is BET's flagship program for rap music, and the network also regularly shows a block of R&B videos under the banner BET Now. For broadcasting videos that are accused of promoting immorality, BET has been the target of criticism and protests. Additionally, the channel shows syndicated television series, original programs, and some public affairs programs. On Sunday mornings, BET broadcasts a lineup of network-produced Christian programming; other, non-affiliated Christian programs are also shown during the early morning hours daily.
On weekdays and Saturdays, BET shows urban music programming with shows like 106 & Park and The Deal, syndicated programming, with sitcoms such as One on One, and The Steve Harvey Show. The BET Hip Hop Awards is BET's largest music awards show, recognizing hip hop performers, producers and music video directors. Celebration of Gospel is an annual show featuring performances by the brightest stars in gospel and R&B, and television’s #1 religious/gospel telecast. Rip The Runway, a collision of hip hop and fashion is the network's annual fashion show. Spring Bling airs during spring break each year; a show dedicated to the goings on of spring breakers. In 2008, BET launched a new awards show, The BET Honors, which recognizes the lives and accomplishments of distinguished members of the Black American Community. BET was one of eight networks to air the 30-minute long Obama-Biden commercial on October 29, 2008 at 7:59PM EST.
Additionally, BET hosts religious programs. In 1998, the Washington Post reported, preachers Don Stewart and Peter Popoff whose "followings all but disappeared after investigations" had "joined dozens of other preachers to become fixtures on BET." Currently Stewart hosts "Power and Mercy" and Popoff has his show aired on BET.
Currently the programming on BET consists of syndicated shows and movies . All music programming has been scrapped except for 106 & Park, 106 & Gospel and The Deal.
Sister network Edit
The spin off channel BET J, originally called BET On Jazz (later BET Jazz), is available in 28 million homes on DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, and other digital cable providers. Programs include My Two Cents with Keith Boykin, Bryonn Bain, Crystal McCreary Anthony and Staceyann Chin, The Best Shorts hosted by Abiola Abrams, Living the Life of Marley about Ky-Mani Marley, My Model is Better Than Your Model with Eva Pigford and The Turn On hosted by Charlotte Burley.
BET's success, and the controversy over its content, has spawned a few smaller competitors aiming toward the African-American market. Although some like NUE TV (New Urban Entertainment Television) and Black Family Channel (formerly MBC) had little success, others like TV One have thrived and succeeded, mostly by eschewing BET's music-based programming for more family-oriented fare. However these networks are mostly watched by older African-Americans and BET continues to be mostly watched by the youth. A possible new arrival to Internet TV and broadcasting, The African American Channel, is making an attempt to enter the picture. Broadcasting and Cable magazine pointed out that The African American Channel could become a competitor of BET and others such as Black Family Channel and TV One in the not-so-distant future. In 2008, rapper Master P, who claims to have a "great relationship with BET", announced the launch of Better Black Television, which he intended to meet "consumer demand for family friendly hip-hop content".
BET UK Edit
BET UK first transmitted on Videotron (now known as NTL) and several other cable networks from 1993 up until 1996.
In May 2007 by Ofcom, BET International Inc was given a license to re-broadcast in the United Kingdom. BET UK is the first international version of the channel.
BET is available on Sky Digital Channel 191 after launching on Wednesday 27 February 2008 and on Freesat Channel 140 after launching on August 8. BET UK shows a mix of content from the main BET channel and locally produced shows.
BET became available in Canada in October 1997 on most cable and satellite carriers. The Canadian feed is the same as the American feed with the only exceptions being sitcoms. Most sitcoms and movies are replaced with music videos in a similar format to the daytime show BET Now with the exception being that there are limited commercial breaks and the BET bug doesn't appear in the bottom right corner. The majority of music videos being aired in place of movies and sitcoms are ones that were released during the summer of 2006.
Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, journalist George Curry, writer Keith Boykin, comic book creator Christopher Priest, filmmaker Spike Lee and cartoonist Aaron McGruder (who, in addition to numerous critical references throughout his series, The Boondocks, made a particular episode criticizing the channel), all have protested BET's programming and actions. As a result, BET heavily censors suggestive content from the videos that it airs, often with entire verses removed from certain rap videos. The channel also censors some of the programming it shows. Profanity such as words like "bitch" are often censored. "Enough is Enough" is a group led by the Reverend Delman Coates that has devoted much time to protesting BET under the grounds that much of BET's hip-hop videos are degrading. It backed an April 2008 report titled The Rap on Rap by the Parents Television Council that claimed that BET hip-hop programming, which they believed contained gratuitously sexual, violent, and profane content, was targeting children and teens. Furthermore, Scholars within the African American community maintain that BET perpetuates and justifies racism by affecting the interpersonal beliefs others may generalize about African Americans, and also by affecting the psyche of its young viewers through its bombardment of negative images of African Americans.